Smoking in early pregnancy reduces child’s future fertility

Research finds that pregnant smokers may harm their unborn baby’s germ cells needed for egg and sperm development


Mums-to-be who continue to smoke during their pregnancy are putting their unborn baby’s future fertility at risk, researchers at the University of Copenhagen have found.


Smoking during pregnancy, especially the first trimester, dramatically reduces the number of embryonic germ cells, which are vital for egg and sperm development later in life.

The germ cells were more than halved (55%) in the testes of embryos from mums-to-be who smoked, compared to the women who didn’t. Levels of somatic cells, which are responsible for other body parts, were reduced by 37% – showing that the germ cells are more susceptible to smoke damage.

“As the germ cells in embryos eventually develop to form sperm and eggs, it is possible that the negative effect on the number of germ cells caused by maternal smoking during pregnancy may influence the future fertility of their unborn baby,” the Professor of Human Reproductive Physiology, Claus Yding Anderson has said.


It’s not only your unborn baby whose fertility can be damaged by smoking, but your chances of conceiving are affected too. With 90% of children wishing their smoking parents would quit, check out our guide on how to quit the cigarettes here.

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